Colombian nabbed at airport for theft gets jail

SINGAPORE - A Colombian woman was sentenced to eight months in jail on Wednesday after she was arrested at Changi Airport with stolen watches and jewellery worth more than $63,600.

Many of the 33 pieces were in her luggage and handbag. She was wearing a few others, and also stuffed some in her brassiere.

Delia Calderon Nieto, 42, was arrested just as she was about to fly to Tokyo on April 30.

She pleaded guilty on July 11 to receiving stolen property.

The valuables were stolen by 30-year-old Juan Carlos Olvera Rios. He came here with Karen Aline Garcia Chavez, 21, and Jose Manuel Sosa Barreto, 29. All three are Mexican nationals and are at large.

The court heard that Nieto got to know Rios in Tokyo on April 21 and he offered to pay her air fare to Singapore and her accommodation here.

Two days later, they flew in with Chavez and Barreto and checked into a hotel in Geylang.

On April 28, he handed her the 33 pieces of watches and jewellery.

These had been stolen from a house in Opera Estate in the east, another in Faber Green in the west, and a third in Seletar Hills in the north.

The next day, he crossed the Causeway into Johor. The other two Mexicans followed him a day later.

The court heard that Rios had called Nieto's daughter in Tokyo to ask the whereabouts of her mother.

Her daughter was present in court yesterday.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Clement Yong had asked the court to impose a nine-month jail term as Nieto had been part of a "highly sophisticated syndicate" that had stolen items of high value.

She could have been jailed for up to five years, or fined, or both.

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